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Tips to designing questions

How to create effective and short questionnaire 

Author: Shazia Kashif

We cannot achieve our required information for survey without well designed questionnaire. We should adopt a well design framework to understand the attributes of the questionnaire.

Qualities of a good questionnaire

Questionnaire designing is difficult, time-consuming and a mix of both art and science. It has to relate back to problem being solved and related forward to the actionable results that can be used by the stakeholders and decision-makers. It has to balance what the target audience can answer and the time they would have to answer. Questionnaire also needs to keep in consideration the method of being asked whether online, over telephone or in person. 

Tips to consider while designing a survey questionnaire 

  • A well designed questionnaire should meet the researcher objectives. This may obvious but many research survey omit important aspect due to inadequate preparatory work and do not adequately probe particular issues due to poor understanding to a certain degree some of this is inevitable. The objective of good questionnaire designed is to minimize these problems.
  • It should obtain most complete and accurate information possible. During design a question ensure that respondent understand the question and not likely to refuse to answer, a good questionnaire is organized and worded to encourage respondents to provide accurate, unbiased and complete information.
  • A well designed questionnaire should make it easy as respondent can give necessary information and the interviewer can record it completely as we can arrange, analysis and interpret properly.
  • The interviewer should be brief and to the point and be arranged as the respondent remain interested throughout the interview.

Preliminary decision in questionnaire design

There are nine steps involved in the development of a questionnaire.
  1. Decide which information required
  2. Define the target respondent
  3. Choose the method of reaching the target respondent
  4. Decide on question content
  5. Develop the question wording
  6. Put question into meaning full order and format
  7. Check the length of the questionnaire
  8. Develop the final survey form

Decide which information required

First we have to decide that what are the things one needs to know from the respondent in order to meet the survey’s objectives? we have idea that how to collect the information but for help we can consider rapid rural appraisal and exploratory research. The researcher should be aware of what work has been done for the same or similar problems in the past, what factors have not yet been examined and how the present survey questionnaire can build on what has already been discovered. Further a small number of preliminary information interview with target respondent will give glimpse of reality that may help clarify ideas about what information is required.

Define the target respondent

In marketing research and researcher often have to decide whether they should cover existing users of the generic product type or whether to also include no-user. Researcher have to draw up a sampling frame. In designing a questionnaire, we must take into account factors such as the age, education, etc. of the target respondents.

Choose the method of reaching the target respondent

The main method available in survey research are:
  • Personal interviews
  • Group or focus interview
  • Mailed questionnaires
  • Telephonic interview

Decide on question content

Researcher must always be prepared to ask “is this question really needed”. Ask relevant and brief question. Opening question should be easy and being interesting as respondent wants to answer the question.

Develop the question wording

Use simple words which are understandable and have no ambiguity. Question should be like that respondent have to use less memory while answering the question.

Put question into meaning full order and format

Opening questions should be easy and not in threating to the respondent. Question should flow in some kind of physiological order.so that one leads easily and naturally to the next question. we should have verity within the question as respondent should not bored due to repetition of the question.

Check the length of the questionnaire

The survey length should not be too much as respondent get bored to answered them. After taking some basic information try to ask the target question in start. Because some time the respondent gets bored due to lengthy questionnaire and skip during the questionnaire.

Develop the final survey form

After that compile all the questions according to survey form format.
About the author

Shazia Kashif, Sr. Research Analyst

Qualified as CMA (inter) and BSC (computer Sciences), with 5+ years of experience in Telecommunication industry, Shazia has worked in CSC and CMC Department in ZONG , did different analytical presentations. Also worked at Talk today as Rate analysist.. Her interests are reading, baking and cooking.

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